Jordan’s unemployment rate increased to a worrying 14.7% in the second quarter of 2016 from 14.6% in Q1 and 11.9% in Q2 2015, amid lower hiring in the construction and agricultures sectors, the statistics office (DoS) said. Fierce illegal competition from Syrian refugees undertaking low-skilled jobs that Jordanian tend to avoid is also weighing on the index.
Favourable seasonal hiring in H2, mainly during the peak summer (tourism) season and end-year festivities, will likely help cut the jobless rate by end-year.
Jordan’s economic activity opened the year on a weak note with real GDP growth slowing to 2.3% y/y in the first quarter of 2016 from a 2.6% annual expansion the preceding quarter, as growth lost steam across the key economic sectors despite remaining afloat. The agriculture sector expanded by a real 6.4% y/y in Q1, braking from 14.1% y/y in Q4 2015, and contributing just 0.22pp, down from 0.57pp the previous quarter.
The construction sector grew a mild 2.6% y/y in Q1 2016 due to high base effects and lower GCC investments amid falling oil prices.
The unemployment rate among men grew to 12.9% in Q2 from 12.7% in Q1 while that among females decreased to 22.8% from 23.7% in Q1.
The bad news is that the jobless rate among people with high education remained high in Q2 despite falling to 18.6% from 20.2% in Q1.
The highest rate of unemployment was recorded in the age group 15-19 and 20-24 years by 40.2% and 33.3% respectively. The highest jobless rate was recorded in the Ajloun province at 19.5% and the lowest rate was recorded in Amman governorate at 12.1%.
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